Hello, SE’ers John with you again.
Today’s discussion is about editing. I’m currently doing a run-through of the first draft of my WIP, so editing is a top-of-mind subject to me. I must admit that editing is not my first choice of tasks for the writing process. Creating a story and running like the wind to bring it alive is where my joy in writing is centered
Editing seems to me to be a speed bump on the highway of the creative endeavor. There are many reasons for this, but the main one is having to come to grips with all the evidence of missing perfection in the first draft. Of course, I’m probably the only author on the planet who is not excited to get to the editing stage.
In case there are others like me, I made a couple of notes on what I enjoy while editing. By the way, I took a hint from Ernest Hemmingway, who once said, “Write drunk. Edit sober. As a result, a reminder to partake of copious amounts of my favorite libation is not on my list. That may sound a little discouraging, so let’s get to the list of what I enjoy while editing.
- I enjoy reviewing words already written. This may sound a little goofy but let me explain. It is relaxing to me to read what is already on the page instead of having to sweat blood creating those words. The fact that they are there and ready to be examined gives me a sense of satisfaction.
- I enjoy finding big ole plot holes. Unlike the pits you see in the street, these plot holes are easily repaired. These plot holes, if left alone, can be as jarring to your reader as the street version. I am so grateful to be the one to find and fix these holes that I feel a loving halo over the entire editing process.
- I enjoy finding minor mistakes in either characterizations or plot execution. These are small items, but they are like glittering specs of gold in a miner’s pan when found. I’ll give you an example. At one point, my antagonists go into a store to buy new clothes and put them on. Two chapters later, they are still in their old clothes. Tell me catching that little faux pas wouldn’t bring a smile to a writer’s lips? Another is having one name for a character in chapter one and a different name in chapter ten. (Hey, it does happen)
- I enjoy finding pieces of prose that are of such quality someone else must have written them. It is almost like opening a birthday present and finding what you want. I’m one of those writers who gets in a zone and barrels ahead without looking back. I never edit on the fly. As a result, I do forget some things that I have written. Editing allows me to review the whole thing and look at the good, the bad, and the ugly.
- I enjoy finding ways to tweak the story. When starting on an MS, sometimes there are opportunities to foretell a significant event later. These opportunities are often overlooked since the objective is to get to the main events. Editing allows looking at the entire story from an objective position. Little things that happen before the main event can be enhancement targets to give that event even more of a pop. When these situations arise, the pleasure centers go berserk.
- I enjoy being able to improve the story flow. The effect is very satisfying, whether it is cutting out words that slow things down or adding some additional beats and gestures that move scenes ahead. There is an opportunity to view all aspects of the writing when editing. Stuff like rambling prose, backstory fillers, and repetitive character movements can be spotted and changed. Of course, the key is to read your work as if a stranger did it.
There are other things, but these are the basics of what I enjoy about editing. How about you? Are there aspects of editing that you enjoy? Why not talk about it in the comments section.